Monday, 31 March 2008

Larking about

I’d hazard a guess that Sky Larks have inspired more poetry than any other UK bird (although maybe our old favourite the Robin would come close, as Andrew Lack’s excellent Redbreast – The Robin In Life And Literature attests).

Anyway, last night I went for a stroll around Sence Valley Forest Park. Saturday had been all wind and rain, but the official start of British Summer Time seemed to bring with it a fresh start in terms of weather. Admittedly it took me the best part of the day to come to terms with losing an hour’s sleep and catch up on various jobs, but it was still gloriously sunny and warm as I went out at about 6pm, even if a spectacular electrical storm was away over the Trent Valley in the distance.

Sky Larks were everywhere in the sheep fields on either side of the bridle path. It’s the display flight and song, of course, that gets them noticed, but it was interesting scanning the scope over the hillsides and picking out one bird after another on the ground, all of them betrayed by their white-sided tails.

Further on, a male Curlew was bathing on one of the scrapes, and when I stopped to look for Sand Martins, a Kingfisher dashed down the little stream and across one of the lakes. They’re fairly regular at Sence Valley, but they always make you catch your breath a little bit.

But getting back to the poetry. When I arrived home, a male Blackbird had taken up his usual position on the peak of the factory rook opposite my house, and was singing away. And, however much I enjoy Sky Larks singing, I don’t think they can touch our commonest garden songster, surely the most musical of all British birds. They’re maybe under-represented in terms of being written about, with the Song Thrush tending to get more attention where the thrush family is concerned, but when I checked The Herald’s excellent poetry blog this morning, the day’s selection redressed that balance a little bit.

Finally, I had a couple of poems – Yellowhammers and The American Version – accepted by The New Writer.

No comments: